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Mexican church holds gathering amid sex crimes scandal

Light of the World
News Desk
Mexican
Some 600,000 followers from 58 countries have descended on the city of Guadalajara, where La Luz del Mundo has its international headquarters, for their week-long “holy convocation”, when leaders hold mass baptisms and a “holy supper”. The fundamentalist Christian organisation was founded in 1926 by Mexican Eusebio Joaquín González, Mr García’s grandfather. It claims to have 1.8 million followers in Mexico and millions more worldwide, although many religious experts question these numbers. The church describes itself as a “resurgence of the early Christian church”, and their followers believe 50-year-old Mr García is an apostle of Jesus. In recent years, the organisation’s influence has spread to the US, particularly in parts of California with large Hispanic populations.
Women cover their heads during services and sit separately from the men. Emotions often run high during their mass events and it was not any different this year, despite Mr García’s arrest in June.
Mr García and three female co-defendants, who are also members of the church, are facing 26 charges including human trafficking, production of child sex abuse images and forcible rape of a minor. The alleged crimes were committed in California between 2015 and 2018.
The defendants are accused of coercing underage girls into performing sex acts. According to the California Department of Justice, the girls were told that if they went against the wishes of “the apostle” they would be going against God.
Mr García allegedly lectured several of his underage victims “about a king having mistresses and stated that an apostle of God can never be judged for his actions”. He has pleaded not guilty, and the church denied all the charges.



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